One of the things I’ve grappled with is this idea of being accountable for the brethren. That is, what does it mean to be my sisters’ keeper? I know what I think it means, but the more seasoned I get, the more wrong I see I’ve been. You know how your girl Hind Sight is.
Anyway, when I thought of keeping my sister I thought of support; that is encouragement, and happy phone calls, and going out to eat, and being there when s/he needs to rant about a job or a relationship or a project. I thought it meant rolling up when the situation and whatnot got a little hot.
I didn’t think about catching faults and restoring folks. I mean, I know the scripture. Y’all know it too, Galatian 6:1–if you catch your girl doing the most, go help her out–at least that was my first interpretation. Conveniently, I left out that part about “you who are spiritual.” Many times I caught someone in a fault and went to restoring without any thought to my own spiritual muscles.
I kinda messed it up…but you know, all things work together.
Here’s the thing folks, we don’t have any business trying to restore folks to spiritual, mental, emotional health after we catch them slipping IF we’re not good ourselves. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Ain’t nobody perfect, Di. If we waited to be perfect, nobody would get restored.” I ain’t said nothing about perfection. What I’m talking about is an excellent spirit, whole and complete.
When you see someone who is struggling , so much so that they are tumbling down a rabbit hole, you really shouldn’t try to help them if you’re not working in a spirit of completion and excellence. If your spirt is weak, you’ll be in the rabbit hole with Alice and all her friends. You need a completely whole, excellent spirit. Those attributes don’t require perfection, they require that you are connected to God in your attempts to reconnect Sis to her former glory in Christ.
There are three things that keep us from doing that though. The first, I believe, is saying “that ain’t none-a my business.” If you count that person a sister or brother, it’s kinda your business. The second one is feeling like you have to be perfect to address an imperfection in someone else. So we already covered that. Perfection is not a prerequisite to restoration. Your spirit is. If your spirit is whole and complete, you are the perfect candidate to perform the operation of restoration.
The third thing is fear. And you need to be fearful (I know, God didn’t give you the spirit of fear… okay, saints). What I mean is fear in the reverence way. You are so fearful of ruining the restoration process (and thus ruining your own testimony), you don’t want to try for restoration. Ironically, I think acknowledging this kind of reverence puts you in the perfect position to help a sista out. It is this kind of reverence that forces you to keep checking in with God to be sure your spirit is right before you run to restore someone else. Y’all know the rest of that scripture: being careful of yourself that you do not fall into sin. Reverence to God is a way of being careful of yourself, and when you begin doing all things with respect for God’s will and purpose for your (and his/her) life, you are more likely to do things with the spirit of God at the forefront. So fear and reverence and respect, in this sense, works.
Let me bring it on home cause I know my 700 word count is almost up. Yes, you have a responsibility to those you count as sisters and brothers; you have a responsibility to folks you say you love; you have a responsibility to yourself and to God, so yes, you should be willing to restore. AND, you should only do it when you are complete and whole (not perfect). Finally, if you have that little skipped beat in your chest because you want to please God when you’re restoring someone, you’re filling up your spiritual tank, getting ready for the restoration. You’re good. Don’t let the opportunity to help someone out be overshadowed by the wrong kind of fear. Get somewhere and help a sista out.
P.S. I have another post coming (I don’t now how soon) entitled “When Restoration Means Separation.” Yeah, I knew y’all would like that one; cause y’all stay cutting people off. Stay tuned